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Old 06-29-2010, 01:13 PM   #1
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Default Military veterans

Got this from a friend of mine, also retired. On occasion, I enter the post using my retired ID (versus my civilian ID) and I always get a very respectful "Good Morning Master Sergeant"...

You Can Leave the Military, But It Never Really Leaves You

Occasionally, I venture back out to the air base where I'm greeted by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at my identification card, hands it back and says, "Have a good day, Master Sergeant."

Every time I go back onto Charleston Air Force Base it feels good to be called by my previous rank, but odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the servicemen and servicewomen going about their duties as I once did, years ago.

The military, for all its flaws, is a comfort zone for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It's a place where you know the rules and know they are enforced; a place where everybody is busy but not too busy to take care of business.

Because there exists behind the gates of every military facility an institutional understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that becomes part of your marrow and never, ever leaves you.

Personally, I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military, and who you were dealing with. That's because you could read somebody's uniform from 20 feet away and know the score.

Service personnel wear their careers on their sleeves, so to speak. When you approach each other, you can read their name tag, examine their rank and, if they are in dress uniform, read their ribbons and know where they've served.

I miss all those little things you take for granted when you're in the ranks, like breaking starch on a set of fatigues fresh from the laundry and standing in a perfectly straight line that looks like a mirror as it stretches to the endless horizon.

I miss the sight of troops marching in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on the sidewalks, the bark of sergeants and the sing-song answers from the squads as they pass by in review.

To romanticize military service is to be far removed from its reality, because it's very serious business, especially in times of war.

But I miss the salutes I'd throw at officers and the crisp returns as we crisscrossed on the flight line.

I miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and disappearing into the clouds.

I even miss the hurry-up-and-wait mentality that enlisted men gripe about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded people more than they'll ever know or admit.

I miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender.

Mostly I miss being a small cog in a machine so complex it constantly circumnavigates the Earth and so simple it feeds everyone on time, three times a day, on the ground, in the air or at sea.

Mostly, I don't know anyone who has served who regrets it, and doesn't feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and re-enter the world they left behind with their youth.

Face it we all miss it. Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your lives!

Last edited by NGIB; 06-29-2010 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:55 PM   #2
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I work as a contractor on a Naval Air Station. I too have shown my id card (USAF retirees do not have to have a sticker, but have to show id card) and have gotten the greeting of "Welcome aboard TSgt". Guess you could say that I am still in it (although another branch now.)
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:20 PM   #3
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Indeed, I miss it more than anyone would ever know, but I will never miss the damn bureaucratic invasion of politics, that are now deeply embedded, especially in my former branch of served operations.



"There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter." - Hemingway

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Old 06-29-2010, 02:21 PM   #4
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I would of stayed in the Army for the rest of my life if they would of let me
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:28 PM   #5
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Yeah I kinda miss the Air Force myself, have been out a year now, but still just feels like I am on leave and can go back. I miss the pepole and the friendships made, but I dont miss standing on a bird for 15 hours without a break or sitdown makes me gratefull for a bathroom! But all in all, I think even when you leave it, a bit of it will always stay with you, and just maybe that makes you walk a little taller knowing you did somthing that was bigger then yourselves.
"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:05 PM   #6
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Sometimes I miss it, sometimes I'm glad I'm out. It shaped me and contributed in untold ways to the man I am today. It's a huge part of who I am.

Unfortunately, I'm forever addicted to SOS.
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”Samuel Adams
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:31 PM   #7
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There are times, I wonder what my life would have been like had I accepted the $10,000 VRB and re-enlisted.

But like EVEN, I had issues with the politics. Besides, I like to do things my way and that didn't work well in the service.
People get the government they deserve.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I could go back in.

"Adversity does not make a man--it reveals him"
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:23 PM   #9
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I enjoyed,

most of my three years in the Army.

I last served in Germany.

Loved Germany.

Hated the company. The Adam Henry company of the Army.

Would have re-upped,

but was afraid of being stuck in a mess like that again.

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'
Ronald Reagan
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dunerunner View Post
But like EVEN, I had issues with the politics. Besides, I like to do things my way and that didn't work well in the service.
Duner, I wasn't very politically savvy myself - that's why I retired with over 8 years in grade. Made E-7 at 11 1/2 years and retired as one...
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